Asia

Shamima Begum biography: 13 things about Bangladeshi woman, ex-UK citizen from Bethnal Green, London

Shamima Begum is a former citizen of the United Kingdom. Here are 13 more things about her:

  1. She was born in the U.K. to Bangladeshi parents. Her father’s name is Ahmed Ali. (a) (b)
  2. She grew up in Bethnal Green, London, England, U.K. and has never been in Bangladesh. (b)
  3. She attended Bethnal Green Academy, which is now called Mulberry Academy Shoreditch. (c)
  4. She was 15 years old when left Bethnal Green in February 2015 with two other schoolgirls namely Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase to join the Islamic State (IS) group. They travelled via Turkey to the IS headquarters in Raqqa, Syria. (a)
  5. Weeks after arriving in Syria in 2015, she married Yago Riedijk in Raqqa. Also an IS recruit, he is from Arnhem, Netherlands and is 7 years older than her. They lived in Baghouz, Syria, the last IS enclave. (a)
  6. In 2018, her first two children with Riedijk, died of sickness compounded by malnutrition in Baghouz. The children were an 18-month-old daughter named Jarrah and an eight-month-old son. (d)
  7. On January 31, 2019, while she was 9 months pregnant, she and Riedjik fled the IS because she wanted her third child to be born in the U.S. The two were held in separate camps in Syria. (d)
  8. On February 13, 2019, she identified herself to war reporter Anthony Loyd when he stopped by the al-Hawl camp, a Syrian refugee camp. She told Loyd that she had no regrets at having been a part of the IS and implied that the Western journalists executed by the caliphate had been spying. (d) (e)
  9. On February 18, 2019, while pregnant, she said, “I just want forgiveness really from the UK. Everything I’ve been through, I didn’t expect I would go through that. Losing my children the way I lost them, I don’t want to lose this baby as well and this is really not a place to raise children, this camp.” (f)
  10. On February 19, 2019, then U.K. home secretary Sajid Javid cancelled her British citizenship on security grounds. After being stripped of her British citizenship, she gave birth to a son named Jarrah in the Al-Roj camp in Syria, which is run by the Syrian Democratic Forces. On behalf of her family, her eldest sister Renu Begum wrote a letter to Javid asking for assistance in bringing her newborn baby to the U.K. (a) (e) (g) (h)
  11.  On March 7, 2019, her newborn son, who was almost three weeks old, was taken to a doctor after suffering from breathing difficulties and was transferred to hospital along with her. He died of pneumonia that day. (g)
  12. While she was still in the Al-Roj camp, the U.K. Court of Appeal ruled in July 2020 that she should be permitted to return to the U.K. so that she could fairly contest the decision to revoke her British citizenship. (b)
  13. On February 26, 2021, the U.K. Supreme Court reversed the U.K. Court of Appeal’s decision in July 2020. The court said the British government had been entitled to prevent her from returning to the U.K. (i)

 

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